"Girls Gone Wild" Founder Tagged, Released | NBC New York

"Girls Gone Wild" Founder Tagged, Released

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Photo by Denise Truscello/WireImage for Girls Gone Wild
    Andrea Lowell, Athena Lundberg, Kathryn Smith, Anika Knudson and Joe Francis. He didn't have the same pleasant company in jail.

    LOS ANGELES -- "Girls Gone Wild" founder Joe Francis was ordered released from custody by a Los Angeles federal judge Tuesday, but will be restricted to home detention under electronic monitoring until his next hearing on Feb. 11. 

    Francis was arrested Monday when he showed up five hours late for a scheduled hearing associated with his upcoming trial on tax evasion charges.

    He was taken into custody Monday afternoon by U.S. marshals after he turned up five hours late for a scheduled Los Angeles federal court appearance, apparently suffering from the flu.

    Francis was originally expected in court at 8:30 a.m. for a hearing on his attorneys' request to withdraw as his counsel. U.S. District Judge S. James Otero waited 30 minutes for the adult-video entrepreneur to arrive then issued a warrant for Francis' arrest.

    When Francis showed up in Otero's courtroom after 1:30 p.m., indicating he had been suffering from the flu, U.S. marshals cuffed him and took him into custody.

    "He's been sick as can be," defense attorney Melissa A. Weinberger said outside court after Francis was arrested. "It looks like the flu."

    Last summer, Francis pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court to two felony tax evasion charges. He is accused of unlawfully deducting more than $20 million in bogus business expenses on his 2002 and 2003 corporate tax returns.
     
    Trial is set before Otero on March 31.